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Company Feature
Published on: April 6, 2022, 1 p.m.
Dr Reddy’s: Making every drop count
  • During FY21, Dr Reddy’s achieved water savings of 109,588 kl with monetary benefits of Rs14.1 million through water reduction initiatives

By Business India Editorial

With 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water, we find that water as a natural resource is the most impactful area for environmental conservation, especially in water-stressed areas. Projects related to water have a far-reaching impact beyond the organisation and community, affecting every living organism in the project ecosystem.

As a responsible pharmaceutical company Dr Reddy’s Laboratories has focused on tackling climate change, and set a water 100 per cent neutrality goal for 2025, ensuring that it enhanced the water quality at every company touchpoint.

The pharmaceutical industry requires high quality water with varying degrees of water purity in drug production processes. The company has set up a threefold approach to implement its water management initiatives: water efficiency improvement, source water sustainability and watershed development.

Resource conservation, pollution prevention and remediation are fully integrated in its Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) policy. It constantly tracks all water-intensive operations, assessing its intake and keeping a tab on all outgoing water from its sites to spot any opportunities for water conservation, reuse, or recycling.

Dr Reddy’s has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and Triveni Water Institute to implement sustainable water management initiatives, both in India and worldwide. The pharma major has also partnered with Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) for support in implementing its integrated watershed development programme.

The watershed project focuses on building water recharge structures to enhance the water table in the aquifer, increase afforestation to conserve soil moisture and support the livelihood of nearby villages.

The company also works closely with communities, educating them on water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), along with providing guidance on improving irrigation and water management. Through its School Improvement Programme (SIP) that supports the education of government school students, the company also provide basic facilities such as sanitation and safe drinking water and have installed Reverse Osmosis (RO) water plants in 182 schools. 

Water stewardship

 Dr Reddy’s is committed to water stewardship and water is one of the six focus areas of its Sustainability Ambassador Programme. The platform engages its employees on the sustainable development agenda, enabling its water ambassadors to lead change within and outside the company.

Every year, the company responds to the CDP Water Security disclosure as a step towards greater transparency and accountability, and to benchmark its efforts, performance, and progress against its water goals. Its CDP water security score for 2020 is A-.

As part of the company’s water conservation initiatives within the fence, it implemented a systematic Water Pinch Analysis (WPA), evaluating flows & quality of different streams to analyse water reuse opportunities across its operations. 

The company uses RO technology to reclaim external wastewater sources and reduce its freshwater consumption, turning waste to resource.

It uses the Zero liquid discharge (ZLD) water treatment engineering approach at 17 of the company’s 24 manufacturing facilities where all water is recovered, and contaminants are reduced to solids. The remaining eight facilities follow government-specified disposal methodology to ensure zero wastewater flows out of the company’s sites, helping stop the rise and spread of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in water streams.

For its activities outside the fence, the company carried out detailed water risk and evaluation studies across all watersheds of Dr Reddy’s to determine alternate rich water resources using appropriate hydro-geological studies and thorough scientific assessment and tools such as WATSCAN (a water risk evaluation tool), and Ecolab’s Water Risk Monetiser tool (based on WRI’s Aqueduct risk indicator tool).

Key challenges the company faced in implementing these initiatives include the alignment of all the numerous key stakeholders for effective intervention and involvement in its water management efforts, and understanding and navigating emerging regulatory challenges which often slow down overall implementation and cause delays.

During FY21, Dr Reddy’s achieved water savings of 109,588 kl with monetary benefits of Rs14.1 million through water reduction initiatives within the fence.

In FY21, the company also increased its surface water utilisation from 22 per cent to 37 per cent compared to last year, reducing overall dependency on groundwater.

It also reached 74 per cent water neutrality through both water savings initiatives such as rainwater harvesting within the fence, and various community watershed initiatives beyond the fence. 

It is exploring emerging water-related risks and opportunities, focusing on local community water needs, and identifying new equipment, and innovative tools and technologies to create shared value for long-term water security.

The company intends to be fully water neutral by 2025 and turn into a water positive company as a future goal.

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